Judge slams prison guards' 'inhumane' behavior

Judge Navah Bechor rips prison authorities after they refused to allow a mother to kiss her son.

Yoel Domb ,

Maximum security prison in Israel
Maximum security prison in Israel
Flash 90

District court judge Navah Bechor sharply criticized the prison authorities after they refused to allow a mother to kiss her son being held in custody.

The minor, a 17-year old who was remanded until the end of proceedings, has been in custody for a half a year after being accused of involvement in "price tag" activities.

The Prison Authority tightened visiting procedures for Jews suspected of nationalist crimes. The minor was even prevented from speaking on the phone. Once a month he was allowed to have a half hour visit with his parents without a partition.

During the hearing which took place Wednesday, the mother of the minor asked the judge to allow her to kiss her son in honor of her birthday. However prison authority representatives present in the room announced that they opposed the request. The judge asked them to clarify the matter with their supervisors and they replied that if the judge would accede to the mother's request, they would make a body check of the minor since he "came into contact with a civilian".

As a result of this the mother announced that she did not want to kiss her son if it meant he would be undressed and frisked. However the judge expressed sharp condemnation of the behavior of the Prison Authority and even wrote it in her decision at the request of Honenu lawyer Hai Haber representing the minor.

"I believe that the Prison Authority's approach is extremely untenable and is almost intentionally inhumane," wrote the judge. "Despite this, the mother of the respondent decided not to kiss her son and I will not obligate her to do so."

Bechor said that her decision should be transferred to the commander of the prison where the minor is being held in order that he respond to it within five days.

Attorney Haber said in response that "There is no other word to describe the Prison Authority's behavior than obtuse. In all my years of work as a criminal defender I have seen numerous cases of bad conduct but this is record insensitivity. What did the mother want? To kiss her son for her birthday. Did they really need to threaten her that if she would do that her son would be undressed and frisked?"

Haber praised the judge for taking a stand on the matter and added that "It is time to understand that the accused also have rights and feelings, especially when it is a minor. I await the response of the Prison Authority which might shed some light on their inhumane behavior."